Saturday, April 09, 2005
The game in a nutshell was pretty simple. Denver shot 74% in the first quarter and put up 41 points. They had put up 68 at the half, the second-biggest first-half offensive output by an opponent this year since Memphis hung 71 points on the Sonics in a first half (the Sonics somehow won that game though). As you might imagine, the Sonics never led in this game. The Nuggets got the first possession, the Sonics got called for illegal defense (Karl's Sonic teams ALWAYS did that), Carmelo Anthony hit the free throw, and the Nuggets never lost the lead.
From that point, the best thing the Sonics could do to save face in the game was to get to a point where they were trading baskets with the Nuggets. The Sonics managed to outscore the Nuggets in the second and third quarters, and when they got the deficit to single digits in the second half, it was a big deal. Of course, they were once again forced to deal with the reality that Rashard Lewis, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Antonio Daniels were out of the lineup. Danny Fortson was out of the game as well, nursing his strained shoulder. The Sonics suited up nine players, and the bench of Collison/Murray/Potapenko/Cleaves (with Wilkins in the starting lineup) is a lot different from the amazing bench we saw early in the year of Daniels/Fortson/Collison/Radmanovic. Lewis out of the lineup is really hurting the Sonics too. At the very least, the offense with Allen and Lewis can at least have some flow if you can have someone setting screens. The sad thing is that other than Ray Allen, there is no other viable go-to scoring option. Ron Murray can try, but I'm about ready to just write him off as a terrible shooter. He was 8-for-23 tonight, and this trend has held up over the last handful of games or so (though not at quite that bad of a percentage as tonight).
Back to the game at hand, though. The Nuggets had their first double-digit lead with 7:48 left in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony hit a layup to make it 16-5. There were three layups and two dunks (10 points of those varieties) for the Nuggets in the quarter, so they still had to get the other 31 points via free throws (10) and jumpers (21). What I'm trying to say is that the 74% shooting they pulled off in the first quarter wasn't necessarily a result of total Sonic defensive breakdowns and drives to the glass. The Nuggets were hitting their shots as well. The Sonics missed their final six shots of the quarter. There was another stretch earlier in the quarter where the Sonics missed four straight shots and turned the ball over twice, and that turned into a 10-0 Denver run. The Nuggets led 41-25 after one quarter. To rub it in, the Nuggets had zero turnovers in the quarter.
On the first Seattle possession of the quarter, Luke Ridnour lost the ball, and Earl Boykins ran the other way and finished with a layup. Not long after, the Sonics went on another drought, this time missing another five straight shots, and throwing in a token turnover. That set off a little 6-0 Denver run. It was during that stretch that Wesley Person stuck a jumper for the Nuggets' first 20-point lead of the night. The Sonics put together a small 7-0 run to get to within 16 about halfway through the quarter and later put together a 6-0 spurt to get to within 14 at 56-42. The first half ended with a 68-54 score.
At halftime, the Nuggets had cooled down a bit from the 74% shooting in the first quarter, but were still shooting 64% from the field (24-for-37). The Sonics were shooting a mere 42% (19-for-45) from the floor (They were also getting to the line, making good on 17 of 23 attempts. Ray Allen led the Sonics with 18, and Ron Murray had 11. The Sonics' rebounding leaders were Reggie Evans and Jerome James, each with only 3, which is more surprising for Evans.
Basically, it came down to the Sonics playing the final 24 minutes and making sure nobody else got hurt, though as mentioned earlier, the Sonics were at least able to trade baskets with Denver and cut the lead to single digits on occasion. With the Denver lead at 14 at the 9:44 mark of the third quarter, the Sonics put together another small 6-0 run, cutting the deficit to eight at 75-67. It took 42 seconds off the clock to get that back out to double digits though. Damien Wilkins hit a layup to get back to within 9 at 79-70 with 6:26 to go in the quarter, but the Sonics were behind double digits for the rest of the quarter. That is, until Ron Murray beat the buzzer with a three just inside the halfcourt line to end the quarter. The Sonics trailed 97-88 after three, ending the quarter on a 9-2 run.
The Sonics at least got it to a manageable lead to enter the fourth quarter, but who can expect them to win with this lineup? Ron Murray hit a jumper to get the deficit to nine with 10:44 to go (99-90), but the Nuggets assumed the double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. Even attempting to count runs and stuff after this point would be even more irrelevant than doing it for the first three quarters in the first place.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 32 pts/2 reb/5 ast/3 stl (10-20 FG, 5-10 3pt, 7-9 free throws, 40 min), Damien Wilkins 14 pts/3 reb/3 ast/2 blk (5-10 FG, 0-2 3pt, 4-5 free throws, 28 min), Luke Ridnour 10 pts/2 reb/7 ast (5-10 FG, 26 min), Reggie Evans 4 pts/10 reb (1-4 FG, 2-2 free throws, 35 min)
Ron Murray 20 pts/3 reb/4 ast/4 stl (8-23 FG, 1-4 3pt, 3-4 free throws, 38 min), Vitaly Potapenko 12 pts/6 reb/3 ast (5-8 FG, 2-2 free throws, 23 min), Nick Collison 6 pts/6 reb (3-7 FG, 25 min), Mateen Cleaves 3 pts/3 ast (1-3 FG, 1-2 free throws, 12 min)
Jerome James Watch
4 pts/3 reb/1 stl/2 blk (2-5 FG, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 13 min)
shot 40-for-90 (44.4%) from the field, shot 6-for-18 (33.3%) from downtown, shot 19-for-24 (79.2%) from the line, outrebounded Denver 36-35, were beaten 38-32 in the paint and 26-22 on the break, bench was outscored 46-41 (but outrebounded Denver's bench 16-11)
Really, it's at a point to where after the games, I don't even know what to say. Coach McMillan has said that they have to basically weather the storm with all the guys that are out, and I guess that's what we're seeing them do, though unfortunately the schedule has four games in the final six involving Houston or Dallas, which is just horrible in itself. A tough schedule plus a depleted roster is a horrible, horrible mixture. It's tough to watch right now, it really is.
Basically, Ray Allen scoring 32 and getting to the line; that's holding up his end of the bargain, and really, there's not much more he can do. Rashard's not there for the other scoring option. Luke Ridnour doesn't go nuts. Ron Murray can get his 20 points, sure, but he'll miss two out of every three shots he takes (well, maybe just that bad tonight). I mean, if you're trying to defend this team, I think it's pretty damn obvious who you're going to stack your guys against, and try to let one of the other Sonics beat you. It's not happening right now.
How about a nice game for Vitaly, though? I saw one Sonics All-Access show on the FSNNW, and they were in San Francisco messing around, and Vitaly did some Ukrainian rap and it was hilarious.
I would have asked Jinkies if he'd hang out with Vitaly's cat if it was Ukrainian and named Boris.
In 25 words or less: The Mariners played like they were facing Pedro Martinez, not Astacio. They tagged the Texas bullpen, and blew the win late -- defense was a factor.
Nick Regilio gave up the game-winning homer to Raul Ibanez last night, and was optioned to Oklahoma City today. Ouch.
Anyway, this one had Pedro Astacio facing Jamie Moyer.
Jamie Moyer fell behind 2-0 on the first two hitters, with equally bad results; Alfonso Soriano doubled into the corner, and Hank Blalock walked. Moyer was able to get out of it, though, by getting a harmless pop foul from Michael Young, and by catching both Mark Teixeira and Richard Hidalgo looking. Moyer threw 24 pitches in the first inning.
Ichiro was ahead 3-0 before rolling the 3-1 pitch to Soriano at second. Jeremy Reed hit one back to the mound. Adrian Beltre had a 2-0 count, but lined out to right on his 2-2 hack. Astacio threw 16 pitches.
Moyer had a 1-2-3 inning, getting a flyout from Kevin Mench, a Chad Allen groundout to short (nicely picked by Richie Sexson), and a Gary Matthews, Jr. groundout to third. Moyer had no three-ball counts in the inning, and he threw 12 pitches.
This was a completely unthreatening inning by the middle of the lineup. Sexson grounded out to short, Bret Boone popped up to right, and Raul Ibanez was frozen on a 1-2 breaking ball that caught the outside corner. Astacio needed only nine pitches in the inning.
Sandy Alomar, Jr. singled to lead off, then Moyer got Soriano and Blalock swinging. Moyer then fell behind 3-1 on Young and walked him. Teixeira hit a slow grounder to Boone, who made a nice backhand flip to Sexson to end the inning. Moyer threw 20 pitches in the inning.
Randy Winn was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch, and Miguel Olivo whiffed on the same count. Wilson Valdez hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle which looked like it might sneak through, but Young made a nice running play and throw. Astacio got well ahead of the bottom of the Mariners' lineup, and threw 13 pitches in the inning.
Adrian Beltre made a nice charge and throw on a Hidalgo grounder, and Mench hit a lazy popup to Boone. Things got dicey with two outs. Allen ripped a single into left, and Matthews doubled into the rightfield corner, putting two runners in scoring position. Sandy Alomar then ripped a 3-1 pitch up the middle to score both runners.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 0
Moyer needed only two more pitches to get a flyout from Soriano. Moyer threw 19 pitches in the inning, and was already up to 75 after three innings, enough to make one harken back to some of Freddy Garcia's old pitch counts from Aprils past.
Thankfully, Ichiro parachuted a ball into the gap in left-center, enough to get him a double and break up Astacio's perfect game bid. Reed worked the count and hit a hot shot right to Teixeira, who went to the bag, moving Ichiro to third. Beltre swung out of his shoes on his first pitch, but was able to reach and put some wood on his 2-2 pitch, singling into center to score Ichiro and finally get to Astacio a little bit.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 1
Then Sexson turned an 0-1 pitch into a 6-4-3 double play. Despite the trouble, Astacio had only thrown 14 pitches in the inning.
Moyer got Blalock to pop an foul ball to Beltre in front of the third-base dugout. He then fell behind to Young 2-0 and 3-1, eventually walking him. Teixeira then whiffed and Hidalgo grounded out to Boone. Moyer threw 18 pitches in the inning, but had a whopping 93 through five innings of work.
Boone had a 2-0 count and tagged a ball up the middle that would have been a single had it not hit Astacio in his lower left leg. Astacio picked it up, threw Boone out, and stayed in the game. Ibanez whiffed, then Winn got ahead 2-0 and 3-1, but struck out looking. Astacio threw 14 pitches, and had 66 through five.
Mench flew out to Ichiro to lead off, then Allen poked a single to center. Matthews had a very long at-bat, coaxing a walk after being down 0-2 and fouling off many pitches. Alomar did damage again, reaching out on a low and outside 1-2 pitch for an RBI single to center.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 1
That was it for Moyer, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa was summoned from the bullpen. He got Soriano to fly out to Ichiro and got Blalock to roll one to Boone. Hasegawa threw 11 pitches to end the inning.
Hasegawa didn't score any of Moyer's runs. Moyer's final line: 5 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, 110 pitches (63 strikes).
Olivo bounced one up the middle on the first pitch for a groundout, then Valdez knocked one up the middle as well, this time for a base hit. Ichiro tattooed the first pitch, but right to the rightfielder. Reed hit a one-hopper to the mound to end the inning. Astacio threw 10 pitches, and had 76 through six.
Hasegawa's only misstep was falling behind 3-0 on Hidalgo with two outs. He got Young and Teixeira to ground out on their first pitches. Hidalgo hit a grounder to Beltre, who bobbled it, but was still able to rifle the ball to first in time. It was a mere seven-pitch inning for Hasegawa.
Beltre led off by ripping a single to right. Sexson whiffed on a pitch low and away. Boone flew out to shallow right, and it looked like the inning wouldn't generate much. Then Ibanez singled up the middle and Winn got the count to 3-1 and singled up the middle as well, netting an RBI in the process.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 2
Scott Spiezio went up to pinch-hit for Olivo. On the 1-2 pitch, Astacio threw a low pitch that hit Spiezio's right foot, though the umpire didn't call it that way, and it was instead just ball 2. Astacio almost hit Spiezio with the next pitch as well. With the full count, Astacio put Spiezio out of his misery, getting him to whiff at a change. Astacio threw 25 pitches in the inning.
Astacio was done for the day. His line: 7 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts, 101 pitches (65 strikes)
This inning turned out okay for Hasegawa, and that usually doesn't happen when you start off by giving up a four-pitch walk. Mench was the beneficiary of said walk. Mench took off for second on the 1-0 pitch to Allen, which is weird in itself, but even weirder was that Dan Wilson gunned him out at second. Allen then hit a ball down the third-base line, but Beltre made a nice backhanded stab and nailed him at first. Matthews hit a ball that Valdez had to make a hard throw with, and he did. Hasegawa threw 11 pitches in the inning.
Hasegawa didn't come out for the ninth (reasons are below), but he turned in a great afternoon of long relief. His line: 2 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 30 pitches (16 strikes)
Brian Shouse came in for Astacio. Valdez led off with a single, which has been rare, but it was a definite bonus considering the lineup was going to turn over. Ichiro got down 0-2 in the count, but reached down on a pitch and singled to rightfield. Then the weird play of the game happened. Reed bunted a high chopper to the mound. Shouse fielded it, and looked to third, then turned and threw toward first. The throw was into the runner a bit, and Soriano (covering) was a bit attentive to Reed barreling at him down the line. The throw went past, the two collided, and Reed headed toward second as Valdez scored. Two runners were in scoring position in a now-tied game with Soriano down on the dirt. He later got up and finished the game.
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 3
Shouse was then pulled for Doug Brocail. Beltre smoked a 1-1 pitch just under Soriano's glove into rightfield to get the Mariners the lead.
»» MARINERS 4, RANGERS 3
Sexson got down 0-2 and hit one back to the mound, but Reed was hung up between third and home. Reed was able to stay in the rundown long enough to have Beltre and Sexson move to third and second. With the infield drawn in, Boone singled past the shortstop to plate the two runners and solidify the Seattle lead.
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 3
Ibanez and Winn then grounded out to end the inning.
The two lines...
Shouse: 0 innings, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 7 pitches (6 strikes)
Brocail: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (14 strikes)
Eddie Guardado came on to shut the door. Alomar didn't get a hit for once, grounding out to Valdez. Then came the play that turned the game. Soriano hit a 1-2 roller to Boone, who Bucknered it (E4). Blalock took a 1-1 pitch and wrapped it around the rightfield foul pole to at the very least make it interesting. Surely the Mariners couldn't blow a 3-run lead in the 9th, right?
»» MARINERS 6, RANGERS 5
Young hit a ball that was just above the glove of a jumping Valdez and into leftfield. Guardado was able to get Teixeira to stupidly swing at some high cheese, but then Hidalgo reached out on a pitch low and away and put it to the right of the bullpens; quite a shot. With that, the lead had changed hands and now the Mariners were suddenly behind.
»» RANGERS 7, MARINERS 6
Mench was down 0-2 and worked the count a bit before mercifully flying out to end the inning.
Guardado wasn't helped by Boone, and then the Rangers mashed his pitches. His line: 1 inning, 4 runs (1 earned), 3 hits, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 30 pitches (23 strikes)
Francisco Cordero came on for Texas to slam the door shut. Wilson got down 0-2 and quickly whiffed. Greg Dobbs pinch-hit for Valdez. He swung at the first two pitches, and let the third one go by, which was a called strike. With that, there were two outs but Ichiro was up. Ichiro was able to grind out an 8-pitch at-bat for a walk. Reed ripped a single to right, putting runners on the corners for Adrian Beltre. Beltre was 3-for-4 at that point, but this time he hacked at the first pitch and flew out to center.
Cordero's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 20 pitches (13 strikes)
Gameball: Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
2 2/3 innings of no-hit shutout baseball in long relief. He was great in getting the ballgame from Moyer to Guardado, even though his ball-strike ratio was crap.
Goat: Bret Boone.
I can't go with Richie Sexson (second straight 0-fer, and it was his shirt day at the park) when Bret Boone muffed a play that he's made a billion times before. I'm going obvious for this one, but oh well. That started the snowball effect.
Reader Morgan pointed out in the comment boxes that in the Minnesota series the Mariners were scoring early and getting nothing, whereas in this Texas series so far, the Mariners haven't been able to touch up the starters, but have been getting the bulk of their runs late. If nothing else, it seems the Mariners are getting more timely hits this year, though we're only five games into the season.
If there's only one thing that would convince you that Moyer's Opening Day start was better than this one, it's this: he didn't walk anyone on Opening Day. He walked four today. Despite the walks and the directly related high pitch count, Moyer didn't completely crap the bed and give up ten runs or anything like that, so that's a slight positive.
If there's one unexpected source of offense today, it was Wilson Valdez, who went 2-for-3 and came very close to a third hit if not for a nice play up the middle. He had a warning-track double yesterday, too, though he did have an error in the comedy-of-errors inning, so I didn't gameball him.
As for Adrian Beltre, that gameball would have been a little too obvious, but he certainly had a superstar day, going 3-for-5 and driving in two, and also had a couple of nice stabs over at the hot corner. Also in the good offensive category was Ichiro, with another quiet 2-for-4, but with a walk as well, coming on the heels of two intentional walks last night. It's just two games I'm looking at, but if he keeps walking like this...certain records could be broken.
The Mariners could have been over .500 today, but let's face it -- you can't shake away 2004 with just five games. They've still got some of it in them. It might take a while, but it'll be worth the wait. At least this team is watchable again.
Drese. Meche. Tomorrow.
It saved me from having to watch the 9th inning with Josh Lewin calling the action.
Mariner baseball, what a show!
Rangers vs Mariners, 1:05 p.m. Pacific (FSN Northwest and FSN Southwest)
What's the deal with the Exxon picture, you're asking yourself? For the remainder of the season, I'll post that photo, updated with the three lowest batting averages of the Mariners regulars. So, for today, it's Jeremy Reed at .071, Wilson Valdez at .083, and Miguel Olivo at .100. We like to have fun here at Sports and Bremertonians. This is just one of the many ways we do just that.
If you are looking for David's Mariners and Sonics game recaps from last night, he has posted them at Sportspot, since Blogger has been acting up for him.
David's 4/8/05 Rangers-Mariners recap
David's 4/8/05 Lakers-Sonics recap
Pedro Astacio vs Jamie Moyer today, Ryan Drese vs Gil Meche tomorrow.
FIRE IT UP!
[originally to be posted ~1:20am, but Blogger was very very down]
In 25 words or less: It looked like neither team wanted to win. The Mariners finally ended up on the right side of the fifth lead change of the night.
Free-agent Signing Bust of the Century Chan Ho Park squared off against 0-for-the-playoffs Aaron Sele.
Two pitches into the game, Sele got Alfonso Soriano to bounce one back to him for an easy out; not a bad start. Sele then got ahead 1-2 on Blalock before walking him. Michael Young smoked a single to left. Sele got a ground ball off the bat of Mark Teixeira, but it was too far to Bret Boone's glove side to turn a double play, so Boone merely got the sure out. With two runners in scoring position, Richard Hidalgo socked one to the base of the wall in left-center to score both runners.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 0
Sele then got Adrian Gonzalez to fly out to centerfield on the first pitch, the 20th pitch of the inning for the Mariners' starter.
Somebody forgot to tell the Mariners they weren't still facing Carlos Silva. Ichiro notched a shallow single to left on his second pitch, then Jeremy Reed continued his futile start by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, leaving him hitless in 12 at-bats. Adrian Beltre hit a too-short rainmaker into left-center for a flyout to end the inning. Park needed all of six pitches to get through the inning.
Kevin Mench got aboard when he lined a hot grounder toward Beltre that went off his jaw. Fortunately for the Mariners, Gary Matthews, Jr. rolled a ball to short, starting a 6-4-3 double play, and it wouldn't be the last double play for the Mariners tonight. Rod Barajas fouled an 0-2 pitch just short of the stands on the first-base side, but Richie Sexson couldn't quite get to it. Then Sele hung a curve to Barajas, the Rangers' #9 hitter, who put it into left for a single. Soriano hit a high fly to Randy Winn to end the inning. Sele threw 16 pitches in the inning.
Sexson was jammed and grounded out to third, then Bret Boone's bouncer over the middle was picked by Young. Park started to show signs of Parkness, walking Raul Ibanez on four pitches and walking Randy Winn after having a 1-2 count on him. That was an inopportune time to have Miguel Olivo at the plate, and he chopped the first pitch to the mound for an easy groundout. Park threw 19 pitches in the inning, significantly more than in the first inning.
Blalock sliced one into left for a single. Sele got ahead 0-2 on Young, who hit the 1-2 pitch into the gap, but the wind caught it a bit and Ichiro camped out under it. Then Wilson Valdez was able to start another 6-4-3 double play. Sele threw 12 pitches in the inning.
An inning starting out with Wilson Valdez isn't usually something to look forward to, and the 3rd was no exception. Valdez at least worked the count a bit before flying out to right. Ichiro flew out to Matthews, who had to go back a bit for it; it looked like the ball might get over his head. Then Jeremy Reed continued the march of futility, grounding out to first to bring his hitless streak to 13 at-bats to start the season. Park threw 13 pitches in the inning.
Sele had a good inning, getting to two-strike counts with every hitter, and getting ahead with a two-strike count on Hidalgo and Gonzalez. Sele sandwiched a groundout with a couple of flyouts, needing 16 pitches to get through the inning (foul-offs).
Yeah, I might have been hard with this low of a grade, but I was tired of seeing the meat of the order do jack. Beltre whiffed at a low and away pitch on 3-1, then bounced one up the middle that was slowed by Park's glove and barehanded by Young, whose throw was in time. Sexson hit a comebacker to the mound, and hadn't had good swings when he made contact. Then Boone waved through a fastball that was up and away. The Mariners were getting Park'd. The Korean threw 10 pitches in the inning.
Sele gets a lower mark for this inning because four-pitch walks are inexcusable, and four-pitch walks to Barajas, who I clarified was the #9 hitter, are worse. Still, Barajas was erased on yet another double play, this time of the 6-3 variety off Soriano's bat. Sele need 11 pitches in the inning, and had 75 through five innings.
Ibanez flew out to lead off the inning, but the real juicy events began when Winn was nailed in the shin, and Olivo hit a broken-bat single to center. Wilson Valdez hit one to Teixeira, who got Olivo at second, but Valdez beat the throw back to first (Park covering, and also tweaking his ankle a bit on the play) to put runners on the corners with two out. Ichiro got down in the count 0-2, but was able to put one into rightfield to score Winn and move Valdez to third.
»» RANGERS 2, MARINERS 1
On the 2-2 pitch to Jeremy Reed, Ichiro took second base without a throw. Reed worked the count full, and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, he one-hopped the FSNNW sign in the gap in right-center. Valdez and Ichiro scored, and Reed had his first hit of the season. Great stuff, and I hope it's one of many more.
»» MARINERS 3, RANGERS 2
Then Beltre whiffed on a pitch low and away to end the inning. Park showed more signs of Parkness in this inning, and he needed 34 pitches to survive the 5th, and had 82 through five innings.
Sele started by getting Blalock 1-2, then walking him; it was the second such occurrence in the game. Ichiro made a nice running catch toward the rightfield line off Young. Teixeira rocketed a grounder to Boone, who got caught between hops and couldn't turn the inning-ending double play, though he did get the lead runner (Blalock). Hidalgo hit a hard single to rightfield before Aaron Sele was pulled.
Ron Villone came in from the pen. He warmed up. Play resumed. He came set, then he delivered a pitch to Adrian Gonzalez. The pitch was pretty high in the zone and caught a lot of the plate, and Gonzalez mashed it into rightfield for a single to score Teixeira and tie the game (Ichiro's throw home was Vlad-like and up the line).
»» RANGERS 3, MARINERS 3
That was Villone's only pitch. Sele was no longer in line for the victory. Villone gets blame, but Sele didn't have to walk the leadoff guy either.
Julio Mateo came in for Villone. Mench put some decent wood on a 2-2 pitch and hit a single to center to give the Rangers the lead.
»» RANGERS 4, MARINERS 3
Matthews rolled into a double play in the second, and ended this inning by hitting a roller along the first-base line that Mateo fielded cleanly and threw to first.
So, to recap, Aaron Sele left a mess for Ron Villone to clean up. Villone dashed Sele's hopes for a W with just one pitch. Worse yet, Sele was on the hook for the loss after Mateo allowed a single to his first hitter (Mench). That's some turnover.
Sele: 5 2/3 innings, 4 runs 6 hits, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 91 pitches (54 strikes)
Villone: 0 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 1 pitch (1 strike)
The middle of the order continued doing jack. Sexson rolled one to second and Boone lined out to left.
Park came out and Ron Mahay came in. Park left with no runners aboard, and therefore his book was already closed. His line: 5 2/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 93 pitches
Four pitches later, Mahay got Ibanez to bounce out to second.
Mateo had a great inning. He got Barajas to fly out on the first pitch (Sele couldn't get him out), then blew down Soriano and got Blalock to line out to Ichiro just short of the warning track. Mateo needed only nine pitches.
Mateo wouldn't come out for the 8th inning. His line: 1 1/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 15 pitches (11 strikes)
Winn led off with a base hit up the middle, but Olivo nullified a promising inning by bouncing a ball to Soriano to start the 4-6-3 double play. Then Valdez managed to get a ball to deep right, and Hidalgo was a little bit short of it and muffed it. Valdez was given credit for a double, his first hit of the season. Way to go, Exxon. The Rangers were protecting a one-run lead with a runner on second and Ichiro at the plate. Buck Showalter didn't let Ichiro swing the bat, and gave him four wide ones. Despite the fact that Reed had hit a double in his last at-bat, Mike Hargrove brought Scott Spiezio off the bat to pinch-hit.
Showalter took out Ron Mahay and brought in Doug Brocail to turn Spiezio around to the left side. Spiezio fouled off a 2-2 pitch and then took a pitch that looked to be over the outer half of the plate and definitely not missing vertically; that should have been the end of the inning. It wasn't, and Brocail ended up walking Spiezio to load the bases. Then Beltre ripped a single into center on a 1-0 pitch to score Valdez and Ichiro and get the Mariners the lead.
»» MARINERS 5, RANGERS 4
Then Sexson put a healthy whiff on a 1-2 pitch from Brocail to end the inning.
Mahay: 1 inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches (7 strikes)
Brocail: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 13 pitches (7 strikes)
I was not a big fan of this inning. It was a lot like the top of the 6th, but with an added twist -- errors. JJ Putz had come in for Mateo. He started out great, getting ahead of Young 0-2 and getting a groundout to second. He had Teixeira 1-2 before he walked him, though I thought the full-count pitch caught the inside corner. Putz had Hidalgo 2-2 before also walking him. Putz had surrendered back-to-back walks, surely not something you want to do with a one-run lead in the 8th. On a 2-2 pitch, Gonzalez rolled one down toward Sexson at first, and the ball hit his wrist and rolled behind him; it just ate him up. Yes, that was an error. One run scored, and runners were left on the corners.
»» RANGERS 5, MARINERS 5
At least temporarily unfazed, Putz got ahead of Mench 0-2. He got a grounder from Mench too, to Valdez at short. Too bad Exxon had it go off his glove and the inside of his thigh. It would have been an inning-ending double play. Another run scored, and runners were at first and second, with Texas now having the lead.
»» RANGERS 6, MARINERS 5
Putz got himself into the mess with two walks, and his defense didn't help him get out of it. So, he took matters into his own hands and struck out Matthews and Barajas to end the inning. JJ needed only 33 pitches to get through the 8th.
Putz was done for the night. His line: 1 inning, 2 runs (unearned), 0 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, 33 pitches (22 strikes)
An F-grade half-inning followed by an A-grade half-inning? Yes, it's true.
Though never on the hook for the loss, Doug Brocail was left to stew on the bench because he didn't come out for the 8th, and was replaced by Nick Regilio.
It didn't start too nicely for the Mariners, at least for the first couple pitches. Boone was behind in the count 0-2 against Regilio to lead off, prompting him into his dog-taking-dump stance. Nonetheless, it worked, as Boone stuck a double down the leftfield line. The go-ahead run was at the plate, in case someone were to hit a homer or something like that, but when does that ever happen? Raul Ibanez whacked a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center for a two-run shot. Folks, this year is different. Most likely not division-winning different or playoff-different, but different.
»» MARINERS 7, RANGERS 6
The fun didn't stop there. Winn singled up the middle. Olivo got behind 0-2, but later rolled a ball along the first-base line, but Regilio hurried his throw, and it skipped past Teixeira and into rightfield. Runners stood on second and third with nobody out. Valdez turned back into his normal self and was caught looking on a 1-2 pitch. Ichiro was intentionally walked again, loading the bases for Willie Bloomquist, who had taken over in centerfield after Spiezio had pinch-hit for Reed.
Regilio was then pulled for RA Dickey. Bloomquist inexplicably chopped Dickey's 0-1 pitch over up the middle and into centerfield for a two-run single.
»» MARINERS 9, RANGERS 6
That was more than enough nuttiness for the night, as Beltre was caught looking on the outside corner and Sexson hit a healthy fly ball to center to end the inning.
Regilio: 1/3 inning, 4 runs (3 earned), 3 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 26 pitches (18 strikes)
Dickey: 2/3 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 8 pitches (7 strikes)
The Mariners had the lead and hoped the fifth lead change of the game was going to be the final one. Eddie Guardado came in to close, and had a three-run lead to work with. Two pitches in, Soriano hit one to the track in centerfield, but Bloomquist was able to track it down on an admittedly nice running catch. Blalock double down the rightfield line to keep everyone honest before Eddie got Young to bounce out to short and Teixeira to fly out to Ichiro on the first pitch.
Guardado: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 14 pitches (11 strikes)
Gameball: Randy Winn.
He was 2-for-2, walked once, got beaned once, and scored twice, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. It was nice to have some production from the bottom of the lineup. Speaking of which, Winn/Olivo/Valdez went a combined 4-for-10 and scored five of the Mariners' nine runs.
Goat: Ron Villone.
One pitch, and poof went the lead and Sele's chances for a win. I have to admit that you could make a good argument for Sexson in this spot for going 0-for-5 with an error and stranding four runners.
Well, that was one mother of a seesaw affair. Sele had a much better start than what I thought he'd put up, especially considering it was his first of the season, and usually he won't give you more than six innings. He didn't, but it was still a decent start. I guess the only thing that would temper my enthusiasm is that I think the start from this game is a top-level start from Sele; that this is the best we'll see out of him. Maybe it's just me, but that's what I'm thinking.
Like I said in the Gameball section, the bottom of the lineup was actually doing something in this one. Interestingly enough, it was Beltre and Sexson this time that were combining for a 1-for-10 night, though Beltre did have a go-ahead 2-run single.
Yes, it's games like this one where you can send out four relievers, have two of them blow saves, and have one actually get the save.
Lastly, hooray for Jeremy Reed for finally raising his average above triple zeroes. It was a nice rip, too.
The Mariners are at .500 once again, and for the second time this season. Remember, that's opposed to being at .500 exactly zero times last year. Even mediocrity is an improvement over the pure horror that was the 2004 season. Even getting some runs off of Chan Ho Park is an improvement over last year, that's how bad it was.
Astacio. Moyer. Today.
[intended to be posted at ~3am, but Blogger was very very down.]
This is getting bad. The Sonics are hardly even watchable in the state that they're in right now. After a recent game, Jerome James said it best, that without Rashard Lewis, the Sonics have turned into the Lakers, with other teams able to key on Ray Allen and just screw up the whole game.
Of course, the Lakers in this game were able to get Caron Butler heavily involved. I'm guessing it helped immensely that the Sonics were only losing about 42 points per game of production with the absences of Rashard Lewis, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Antonio Daniels.
When it comes down to it, I'd like to congratulate Kobe Bryant on dropping 42 points on a Sonic team missing three of its top scorers. Way to go, nice job. Good luck in the playoffs. Oh, wait...I meant, have fun watching them from your freakin' couch.
The game threatened to get out of hand in the first quarter, as the Lakers used a 13-3 run to get a 22-13 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. Amazingly, the Sonics drained three 3-pointers in a town (Ridnour/Allen/Wilkins), though the baskets were sandwiched with a Chucky Atkins three and a Bryant short basket. Nick Collison and Ray Allen stuck jumpers before the end of the quarter to bring the Sonics back to within one at 27-26, and maybe the Sonics might have been up to the challenge tonight. Maybe they'd found their groove.
Ron Murray scored the first basket of the second quarter to give the Sonics a 30-29 lead. Collison cleaned up a Ridnour miss to offset a couple of Devean George free throws. Ridnour hit a three on the next trip down the floor to get the Soncis a four-point lead at 33-29 with 9:12 left in the first half. Collison cleaned up another Ridnour miss to put the lead out to four again, this time at 35-31 with 8:40 to go in the half. What happened next? A 15-0 Laker run. Ballgame. The Sonics never led again. They missed seven straight shots and turned the ball over three times (Ridnour twice) in the game-breaking Laker run. The Sonics answered with a little 5-0 mini-run to get within six, but it was over. From that point, the Lakers went on a 10-2 run to end the half, which was punctuated by Bryant nailing a three to beat the buzzer and make it 56-42.
How did the Lakers get ahead? The most notable first-half numbers were that the Lakers had 17 assists to the Sonics' 8, and that the Sonics had turned the ball over 8 times, as opposed to the Lakers' three. Oh yeah, the Sonics were also missing Rashard Lewis, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Antonio Daniels. The Lakers were shooting 21-for-49 (42%) from the field, and the Sonics were shooting 16-for-39 (41%).
From that point, none of the second half really matters. A Caron Butler layup with 8:23 to go in the third quarter put the Lakers up by 20 for the first time (62-42). The Sonics also missed their first five shots from the floor in the second half, and even Damien Wilkins missed two free throws in the same stretch. The Lakers scored the first six points of the second half, carrying the run to 16-2 from the first half.
After that, the teams pretty much flirted with a 20-point differential. I'd hate to have been in KeyArena for this game. What an all-out stinker.
Also, who's the genius that decided to make the Sonics play Dallas and Houston back-to-back TWICE in the final seven games? That's just brutal. I know the schedulemakers didn't see the Sonics being as good as they would be, but damn...
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 30 pts/4 reb/3 ast/3 stl (12-21 FG, 5-13 3pt, 42 min), Luke Ridnour 12 pts/5 reb/5 ast (5 turnovers, 3-10 FG, 2-6 3pt, 4-4 free throws, 39 min), Damien Wilkins 12 pts/5 reb/3 ast (4-16 FG, 1-5 3pt, 3-5 free throws, 37 min), Reggie Evans 3 pts/11 reb (1-2 FG, 1-4 free throws, 26 min)
Nick Collison 16 pts/11 reb (6-10 FG, 4-4 free throws, 32 min), Ron Murray 12 pts/7 ast (3-11 FG, 0-2 4pt, 6-8 free throws, 33 min), Danny Fortson 3 pts/3 reb (3-4 free throws, 14 min), Vitaly Potapenko 2 pts/2 reb (1-1 FG, 4 min), Mateen Cleaves 0 pts/0 reb (0-1 FG, 3 min)
Jerome James Watch
4 pts/0 reb/1 blk (2 turnovers, 1-3 FG, 2-2 free throws, 10 min...left with an ankle sprain)
shot 31-for-75 (41.3%) from the field, shot 8-for-26 (30.8%) from downtown, shot 24-for-32 (75%) from the line, outrebounded Lakers 42-39 (14 offensive, surrendered 13 offensive), had 19 assists (Lakers had 31), turned ball over 12 times, were beaten 44-32 in the paint, beat LA 18-11 on second chances, bench outscored Laker bench 33-16 (outrebounded them 17-12)
Once again, the curse of the double-double continues after a nice game by Nick Collison. Of course, when Ridnour, Wilkins, and Murray combine for a sparkling 10-for-37 (27%), that's always great. I think the only good team-wide thing to come out of this loss is that they got to the line 32 times.
Though nowhere near as hot as the Kings were a few nights ago, the Lakers did shoot 51.2% without a big glut of layups. I know the Sonics are subpar defensively right now (understatement), but teams are shooting hot against the Sonics lately. On one of the broadcasts, Craig Ehlo was saying that a Peja Stojakovic wouldn't have had a night like he had if Rashard Lewis was in the game, i.e., Stojakovic would have to guard him on the other end. With the Sonics having less (or less reliable) scoring options, Stojakovic doesn't have to expend as much energy on the defensive end, etc.
I hope the Sonics can at least win one game the rest of the way and clinch the division, because Denver doesn't look like they'll lose anytime soon, and Rashard Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovic aren't coming back anytime soon.
I would have asked Jinkies if he can bear to watch how bad this skeleton crew of a team is right now.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Rangers vs Mariners, 7:05 start.
Lakers vs Sonics, 7:30 start.
Since we're a Kitsap County blog, that means we have to mention former North Kitsap Viking Aaron Sele (we don't have to, but we will anyway). He's pitching tonight for the Mariners. Why, I don't know. David says that Kevin Mench will hit a home run off of him. I'm calling Richard Hidalgo.
As always, nothing is off-topic at Sports and Bremertonians. FIRE AWAY!
This is just a small portion of the pictures that I took last weekend. As you will tell, I didn't get a chance to leave downtown Los Angeles to go to the beach. I'll hit the beach when I go back to Southern California, whenever that may be.
I liked Los Angeles. I enjoyed talking to the people for the most part. Various topics discussed included Wrestlemania, the Dodgers not signing Adrian Beltre, and the Lakers (Team Kobe!). Believe me, the Beltre discussion almost got very heated. There are more than a few people that are still puzzled that Frank McCourt gave big money to J.D. Drew instead of Beltre. Oh, and the Clippers are an afterthought.
Anyways, here are my photos. I'm a much better writer than I am a photographer.
This photo was taken on my way to Staples Center on Saturday morning. My brother and I met the WWE's Theodore Long and Hardcore Holly at the LA Shop at Staples Center. The Hollywood sign is somewhere in the middle of the photo, a long ways away.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kurt Rambis. James Worthy.
"Hey, I'm no longer the worst coach in Laker history!"
The best hockey player ever. And I bet you that the guy in the red blazer has no idea who Wayne Gretzky is.
This is where FSN West tapes the "Southern California Sports Report". On Friday night, I walked by the studio while there were doing the 6:30 edition, so I may have been on FSN West. I couldn't tell who was in there though.
I walked up to Dodger Stadium from the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Elysian Park Avenue. Man, that was a bitch. It's not that I can't walk uphill, it's that I haven't walked up any hills in over two years. Pine Bluff, Arkansas doesn't have any hills. Oh, and for Arte Moreno: THIS IS L.A. BASEBALL, BITCH!
Downtown Los Angeles from the Top Deck parking lot of Dodger Stadium.
The view behind home plate on the Top Deck. My seat was just a few sections over to the left (between 3rd base and home plate).
This was my seat. Aisle 11, Row 1, Seat 19.
I'm a tall guy. So, does this look like a seat that a tall guy should be sitting in?
The left field video board tagged the Angels as "Anaheim", not "Los Angeles". Funny stuff. Once again, THIS IS L.A. BASEBALL, BITCH!
First pitch: Jeff Weaver to Chone Figgins.
The Dodgers promoted their "Dodger Stadium Renovation" to death all night long. What renovation? All they did was reduce foul territory at Chavez Ravine just to put 1,600 rich people seats in and install a LED scoreboard on the facade that stopped working in the 7th inning. Some renovation.
The Angels won 6-4, clinching the Freeway Series title. Do they give the winning team a freeway sign? Free carpool lane passes? For me, the Dodger Stadium experience was good and bad. Good, because the fans chanted "Angels Suck" many times. Even little 7-year olds joined in the fun. Bad, because the event staff was very rude to me. I wanted a program (official program, BTW; I didn't see any unofficial programs at all outside of Dodger Stadium). But they told me that they didn't sell programs during the Freeway Series. It's just another way for Frank McCourt to save money, that's all.
As for the beach ball tally, I counted 12 beach balls in the stands.
Waiting to get inside the Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Los Angeles Kings Smythe Division Champions 1990-1991
Los Angeles Kings Campbell Conference Champions 1992-1993
Wayne Gretzky 99. Marcel Dionne 16. Dave Taylor 18. Rogie Vachon 30.
I still love hockey.
The Undertaker going "old school" off the top rope against Randy Orton.
Shawn Michaels with the superkick to Kurt Angle.
Stone Cold Steve Austin giving Carlito Cool the Stone Cold Stunner, with Rowdy Roddy Piper looking on.
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I don't know when I'll be going to Los Angeles again.
But I tell you, it was the best weekend I've had in over two years. Hopefully you've enjoyed looking at my photos. Unless I get lucky in the next few months, I'm in Arkansas for a while. I could use another vacation though. Don't we all?
THIS IS L.A. BASEBALL, BITCH!
For the random...for the outsider, eastern Montana on I-94 is a very unforgiving drive. Take it from someone who got stuck there in triple-digit heat. Anyway, the land east of Billings (home of Yankee great Steve Howe; he'll hook you up) is a fairly straight one, with long stretches of barren landscape and little to no inhabitants. If you need to drive through there, you're going to need someone to talk to and/or caffeine. If you're talking with someone, eventually that someone will fall asleep. If you're driving in the summer, you absolutely must have air conditioning. I've been on the wrong end of that too, in eastern Montana as well as Ellensburg. Music helps very much, but you can't really zone into it very well, or else you'll drive off or sleep. This is one reason I never use and never will use cruise control on a car. I don't have any proof that my body in slumber will notice a decrease in speed, but I think my chances are better to wake up and survive there than if I fall asleep with the cruise on and go out like Toonces. If you learned anything from this really weird public service announcement, I'm glad to have helped.
To something sports-related...
When did I know that the Pacific Rim Sports Summit was going to be doomed? I knew pretty early on. I heard they couldn't get Husky Stadium for the track and field events because graduation ceremonies were scheduled there, so that was bad to begin with. Though Bremerton is home to a couple of Olympian swimmers that we've covered in this space, I have to say I was bearish on these games from the moment I heard that the only swimming at this Summit would be of the synchronized variety. Remember that if you ever see the logo on the TV ads again...the swimmer silhouette in the logo is supposed to indicate synchronized swimming. Anyway, as soon as I heard there wouldn't be timed swimming, I knew there was no way that they'd be able to capitalize on the Michael Phelps thing or the semi-rivalry with Australia or any of the swimming-related stuff that a good portion of the country found so highly enjoyable and captivating to watch last summer at the Olympics. If you ask me, this Summit's timing (June 7-12) was also horrible. They missed out on having the Husky Stadium track and field by scheduling for graduation weekend, and then they missed out on the swimmers because they're swimming a Grand Prix meet in Indianapolis from the 10th to the 12th. The Summit organizers picked a brutal weekend, resulting in the omission of a marquee event (swimming) and the moving of all the track events to a track in West Seattle. How does this sound like a recipe for success? You can't tell me that the light way down at the end of the tunnel a few years from now was going to be the Summer Olympics in Seattle. No way in hell. It definitely won't happen after the USOC sees this mess. But hey, they gave the Winter Olympics to the bribery-riddled Salt Lake contigent, so I guess anything's possible.
To the post!
In non-news, Ryan Franklin would rather be a starter. In news, Justin Morneau is showing no residual damage from being nailed in the head and helmet on Wednesday. The projectile was an 0-2 pitch from the "effectively wild" Ron Villone. I liked Mitch Levy's semi-sarcastic remark yesterday morning about how they should start Villone in Bobby Madritsch's spot because "they can always fall back on Matt Thornton" for lefty pitching in the pen. I laughed, and then buried my face in my hands and cried.
"I said, no CAMERAS." That's not just what Randy Johnson said upon arrival in the Bronx, but it's also a rule at the Ichiro Exhibition Room near Ichiro's childhood home in Toyoyama, Japan. Admission is about $8.50, and 30 to 50 visitors come in every day...that's $255 to $425 a day into the coffers of Ichiro's dad. Apparently 1234 people went through after Ichiro shattered that whole record for hits that people were raising a big stink about last year (yes, I'm being sarcastic), and that would have netted Papa Suzuki a nice sum of $10489. That's some pull.
...but Hideki Matsui, the most successful franchise in baseball history, and the city they're based in are stealing away some of the Japanese tourists away from Seattle. I can't say I'm surprised. Of course, September 11th and SARS had a lot to do with the general across-the-board decline of all kinds of tourism coming from Asia.
Bobby Madritsch is injured for the time being, and Art Thiel laments the Freddy Garcia trade. I'm not sure I have anything constructive to say about the article. I'd have loved for the Mariners to get an arm in the offseason, but when Carl Pavano is considered a high-end catch, it's really not a good market for pitchers. Being that the Mariners aren't one season away from the playoffs, I find it a little bit more tolerable that the Mariners didn't land a big free-agent arm. Adding two big bats to the lineup and two big gloves in the field wasn't too bad of a backup plan with the big money.
Hey, the Rainiers are returning 14 guys from last year's squad. I have to say I'm guilty of snatching a bunch of those free admission slips from Safeway a couple years ago. They'd just get you to the metal bleachers, but oh well, it was baseball. This was in the Juan Thomas era.
Greg Dobbs is happy to be a Mariner. Though at the end of the bench, he's two years departed from the gruesome torn Achilles injury. In my Sarcastic Quote Snipe of the Day, I'll respond to Benny Looper's account of the injury, which he said "looked like someone had shot him with a gun." As opposed to what? A paper football? A rubber band? A paper football propelled by a rubber band? A rubber band propelled by a paper football? The latter wouldn't be a very devastating projectile. Still, I once again thank Dobbs for signing my 2000 Carlos Guillen batting practice warning track ball.
I know they're three days games in the middle of the week, but can't at least ONE of those games in the Kansas City series be televised?
Today vs. Texas (7:05p, UPN11)
Tomorrow vs. Texas (1:05p, FSNNW)
Sunday vs. Texas (1:05p, FSNNW)
Monday at Kansas City (1:10p, radio)
Wednesday at Kansas City (11:10a, radio)
Thursday at Kansas City (11:10a, radio)
The Jamie Sharper pursuit is underway. A limousine is involved. I'd love it if they could pull this off, though I'm not getting my hopes up or anything. I've been anticipating the draft a lot more than the free-agency period.
Also, Chris Gray and Alex Bannister have finally signed the contracts that seem like they were agreed to in principle about a week ago, maybe more. Anyway, Gray will make $1.875M with a $250k signing bonus, and Bannister will make $4M over four years, with a $1M signing bonus. I'm glad Bannister will return, that's for sure. As for Gray, I wouldn't have been sad if he left, though I'm sure that would have given the Seahawks some depth issues on the right side of the line.
Jeremy has wanted the Seahawks to take Florida linebacker Channing Crowder with the 23rd pick in the draft, though he admits Crowder apparently may have off-the-field behavior problems causing his stock to slip. In the Sporting News mock draft, they have the Seahawks taking cornerback Fabian Washington out of Nebraska. The Sporting News explains that with the air game of the Rams and the receivers of the Cardinals, the Seahawks need to beef up on the corners. What do I say? I think they need to get people who can get to the freakin' quarterback, so that the opposition's passing game is disrupted to begin with. Seriously, if they don't beef up the pass rush, how much different will next year be compared to this past year? In a sick twist, the Sporting News mock draft has Crowder slipping to New England at the end of the first round; Jeremy points out that the Patriots will probably make Crowder into a model citizen. I don't doubt it.
The Miah Davis Update
The NBDL's Roanoke Dazzle close out the regular season this weekend, with road games tonight at Huntsville and tomorrow at Columbus.
Ray Allen apparently was right on his preseason prognostication about the Lakers' season. I really don't much care for this story because the Sonics are in a tough stretch and they've got injuries to worry about instead. Still, it sure is fun to see the Lakers just eat it this year. It's really too bad I can't convince myself that David Stern won't pull strings so the Knicks and Lakers won't suck for much longer.
Great! Antonio Daniels has a muscle strength imbalance in his left kneecap, most likely resulting in his being out for tonight's and tomorrow's games. The injury train keeps a-rollin' all night long, with a heave and a ho, and I just couldn't tell her so.
Also, Rashard Lewis will be out at least one more week.
Tonight vs. Lakers (7:30p, FSNNW)
Tomorrow at Denver (6p, FSNNW)
Monday vs. Houston (7p, FSNNW)
Wednesday vs. Dallas (7:30p, ESPN)
The NHL's general managers met yesterday in Detroit. The discussion included prospective ways to increase scoring whenever they start up again -- smaller goalie pads (including a CCM equipment presentation), bigger nets, tag-up offsides, etc. About those first two things, Jose Theodore of the Habs says both ideas are "crap." I noticed a picture at the top of the first article, and I thought it was computer-generated until I read about the suggestion for a net that is "six feet wide at the base and is bow-shaped to reach a width of six feet six inches and a height of four feet six inches, or 13 per cent bigger." It turns out the photo is real. Incredible. That'd be weird.
The WHL Western Conference semifinal series are starting tonight, and both Seattle and Everett have series against Kelowna and Kootenay, respectively. The Kelowna Rockets are the defending Memorial Cup champions (we could have had a Memorial Cup winner in Tacoma...) and the Kootenay Ice have Jeff Glass, the goalie who played in net for the gold-medal Canada squad in the World Junior Championships a couple months ago. Just my opinion, but the local teams are going to have to play reeeeally well to advance.
The Western Conference on the WHL website is called the "Kal Tire Western Conference."
Also, the AHL ends their regular season on the 17th, two Sundays from now. The almost-Canucks, the Manitoba Moose, have clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Tonight: Seattle at Kelowna (Game 1), Everett at Kootenay (Game 1)
Tomorrow: Seattle at Kelowna (Game 2), Everett at Kootenay (Game 2), Hamilton at Manitoba
Sunday: Hamilton at Manitoba
Monday: Kootenay at Everett (Game 3)
Tuesday: Kelowna at Seattle (Game 3), Kootenay at Everett (Game 4), Manitoba at Edmonton
Wednesday: Manitoba at Edmonton
Thursday: Kelowna at Seattle (Game 4)
Have a great Friday, everyone.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
It's called the boxscore.
With the internet, some people aren't as likely to read the newspaper sports section as often as they used to. There are boxscores on the internet as well, but to me, there's nothing like reading the sports section in the newspaper and finding the boxscore. I read just about every baseball boxscore there is for a certain day, not just the Mariner boxscore.
The abbreviations LOB, CS, GIDP, HBP, and SF are boxscore staples. Without the boxscore, they wouldn't mean nearly as much to us. Here's to you, Mr. Boxscore. Because of you, my veins may have black ink running through them.
THIS MARINER OFF-DAY POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY EXXON, WHERE THE GAS IS HIGHER THAN WILSON VALDEZ'S BATTING AVERAGE!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
In 25 words or less: Carlos Silva might have duplicated his start in Seattle from last May, and the Mariners tried a strategy that didn't work against Tim Hudson last April either.
Bobby Madritsch started out great. He got to two-strike counts on both of the first two hitters, and all Shannon Stewart, Nick Punto, and Torii Hunter could manage were a foul flyout to Richie Sexson and a couple groundouts. Madritsch needed only 11 pitches.
Adrian Beltre hit a ball off Juan Castro's glove at short, and he reached base on what was ruled a single. He would be stranded there. Indicating a team-wide trend that would continue against Carlos Silva, Ichiro and Richie Sexson both swung at the second pitch. Silva was the beneificiary of a nice backhand stab of a Jeremy Reed grounder behind second base by Punto.
Madritsch set down the side in order again. He got behind 2-0 on Matt LeCroy, but induced a flyout. He got 0-2 on Jacque Jones and eventually got him to whiff on a changeup to end the inning. It was another 11-pitch inning for Madritsch.
Bret Boone got behind 0-2, got in that dog-taking-dump stance, and then mashed a 1-2 pitch over the manual scoreboard in left. Happy birthday to Bret Boone.
»» MARINERS 1, TWINS 0
Too bad that capped the Mariners' scoring for the day. Randy Winn was up with two out and worked the count to 2-0 and 3-1, but could only manage a grounder to Justin Morneau at first. Raul Ibanez and Dan Wilson flew out and grounded out, respectively, both to short and on the third pitches of their at-bats.
Madritsch ran his streak to nine straight hitters retired. He fell behind Mike Redmond 2-0, but got a ground ball out of him. All three outs in the inning were on the ground. Madritsch threw 14 pitches in the inning.
The 9-1-2 hitters in the Seattle lineup saw a total of five pitches in the 3rd. Wilson Valdez tried to bunt his way aboard on the first pitch, but was gunned down by a charging Mike Cuddyer in from third. Ichiro flew out to center on the first pitch. Jeremy Reed bounced out to short on the second pitch. Thus, it was little surprise that Carlos Silva had recorded only 33 pitches through three innings. His numbers would get even more out of hand; he was done giving up runs.
Punto broke up Madritsch's perfect game bid, ending the string at 10 straight retired Twins to start the game. Punto did so with a push bunt up the first-base line, making me wish that Bob Melvin was still around for that extra "ticked-off-because-someone-ruined-a-perfect-game-with-a-bunt" nuance. Madritsch got Torii Hunter to flyout. Ron Gardenhire put on the hit-and-run on an 0-1 pitch, and Morneau singled to right to put runners on the corners. Matt LeCroy put on his own hit-really-hard-and-trot-around-the-bases, clubbing one out to leftfield on his second pitch, one which got a little high and a little too much of the plate.***
»» TWINS 3, MARINERS 1
Luckily, Madritsch got ahead 0-2 on Jacque Jones right away and got a ground ball out of him. Madritsch threw 18 pitches in the inning and had 54 pitches through four innings.
***Adjusted after I saw video replay of the LeCroy wallop.
Beltre bounced out to short. Two pitches later, Sexson singled up the middle. One pitch after that, Boone singled to right. Runners were on first and second with one out, and the Mariners were down two runs. That meant it was a great time for Raul Ibanez to swing at the second pitch and bounce into a 4-6-3 double play. Silva threw 10 pitches in the inning and had 43 through four innings.
Madritsch got ahead on Cuddyer 0-2 and eventually got a comebacker to the mound. Madritsch threw somewhat high, but Sexson is tall. Then Redmond roped his first pitch down the leftfield line for a double.
Bobby Madritsch knew something wasn't right after he delivered his 2-1 pitch to Juan Castro. Rick Griffin and friends came out right away, and Madritsch had to come out of the game for what was later revealed to be a strained left shoulder. Who will Pokey Reese sprinkle with the strain-your-throwing-shoulder pixie dust next?
Having had starting experience the last couple seasons, and having thrown only one inning the night before, Ryan Franklin came on to relieve the injured Madritsch. He inherited the 3-1 count on Castro and walked him on the first pitch. Stewart then roped a single into center to load the bases. Though the Mariners didn't know at the time that they wouldn't score for the rest of the game, the 4-6-3 double play off of Punto's bat to end the inning was timely. They gave up zero runs, but the Mariners seemed to have experienced a trainwreck inning for the second night in a row.
Madritsch's line: 4 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, and 1 strikeout on 64 pitches
Randy Winn doubled to the wall in left. He took off for third on the first pitch to Dan Wilson and was gunned down. You run when Dan Wilson's behind the plate, not at the plate in the batter's box. Wilson and Valdez both grounded out to short to end the inning. Silva threw nine pitches in the inning and had thrown 52 through five innings.
Franklin's only misstep was falling behind 2-0 to Morneau, but he set the Twins down in order with three fly balls. He needed 12 pitches to accomplish this.
Ichiro rolled a ball to Castro at short and beat it out. Jeremy Reed, who hasn't done anything yet in three games (yes, I know it's only been three games), swung at the second pitch and Morneau started the 3-6-3 double play. Beltre had nothing to drive in and bounced out to short. If you're betting on how many pitches Silva threw in this inning, the big-money winner is whoever bet closest to six. Silva had thrown 58 through six innings.
The inning started with a Jones bunt down the third-base line that Beltre couldn't quite barehand. Franklin got two flyouts before Castro lined one into left for a single. Franklin got a grounder for a fielder's choice to end the inning. Franklin threw 12 pitches in the inning.
No Mariner hitter got to a two-ball count in what would turn out to be Silva's final inning, though I'm sure he could have easily thrown 12 innings against the Mariners at this pace. Boone hit a one-out single to center, and was moved to second when Raul Ibanez singled the other way on a 1-2 pitch. Randy Winn hit one hard up the middle for a single, but it was hit too hard to score Boone, and Hunter probably would have nailed him at the plate. Of course, the bad thing about having the bases loaded with one out in this situation was that Dan Wilson and Wilson Valdez were coming up in the order. Valdez didn't even get his chance. Wilson swung at the first pitch and hit it right to Cuddyer, who tagged third and threw to first for the double play. The double play was almost too predictable. It was a 10-pitch inning for Silva.
Silva's final line: 7 innings, 1 run, 9 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 68 pitches (49 strikes)
Franklin had Punto 2-2 and then lost him. He got a popout to Valdez from Hunter, and then was pulled.
Ron Villone came in for Franklin. He beaned Morneau in the helmet (he left the game and was to undergo a CT scan) and fell behind LeCroy before walking him to load the bases with one out. Jones then hit a fly ball to Ichiro, and Punto tagged up to head home. The throw was up the line, and Wilson couldn't reach back to get Punto in time, though apparently Punto had missed the plate on his first pass. Oh well. He got it the second time.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 1
I'd had enough of Ron Villone, and so did Mike Hargove, who brought in Jeff Nelson. He got a ground ball from Cuddyer on his third pitch.
Franklin's line: 3 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 34 pitches
Villone's line: 1/3 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 11 pitches
Juan Rincon came in for Silva, who had thrown seven masterful innings against a hack-happy Mariner lineup. Greg Dobbs came in and was a pinch-looker, watching a fastball down the pipe for strike three. Ichiro singled on an 0-2 pitch to right. Reed continued his trend and didn't get a hit (short sample size, I know), this time a flyout. Ichiro stole second on the first pitch to Beltre, but Big 5 whiffed on a breaking ball outside.
Nelson walked Redmond on four pitches to start the inning. Redmond went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Castro. Nelson got two flyouts to end the inning.
Joe Nathan came in for Rincon. It was a save situation, although to me it felt like a very low-pressure save situation. For whatever reason, I felt like the game was over long before that.
Anyway, Sexson flew out to right on an 0-2 pitch, Boone bounced out to third on a 1-1 pitch, and Ibanez eventually grounded out to Cuddyer, who had replaced Morneau at first.
Ichiro was a quiet 2-for-4 with a steal. Randy Winn was 2-for-3, but he was nailed at third to nullify what would have been a great scoring chance if somehow he could have stayed on base until Ichiro got to the plate.
Goat: Dan Wilson
I've already picked on Reed once, but Wilson was an 0-for-3 in this one with the killer double play on the first pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 7th.
Has everyone come down from the high of Opening Day yet? This team will be better than last season, sure, but they won't be that good every night. They definitely won't be that good every night if Bobby Madritsch isn't able to come back and solidify the rotation a bit. Scroll down a post to see what Jeremy dug up with respect to the pitch counts that Bob Melvin was letting Madritsch get to last season. I liked that he was going deep into the games every night, but the 133-pitch game was the last straw for me.
As for the hitting today, Ichiro was Ichiro, Bret Boone showed up, but no one else drove in any runs, obviously. The Mariners best chances came with Dan Wilson at the plate, and that doesn't say much in itself. I mentioned the double play in Wilson's Goat paragraph, but he was also up when Randy Winn was nailed at third. Sigh...
The backbreaking inning was a trait of every game in this series. Seattle had the 5-run first on Opening Day, the Twins had the 7-run inning last night, and they had the 3-run inning today that was enough. If there's one thing the Mariners have down in the first three games, they've scored early. A 5-run first, a 4-run first, and a little 1-run second. I'm trying to look for positives here.
Normally I'd be jazzed about the Mariners facing Chan Ho Park on Saturday, but I remember the one good start he had against the Mariners. I'm keeping myself honest.
Park. Sele. Friday.
8/5/04 at Tampa Bay (ND)
8 IP, 105 PIT
8/11/04 Minnesota (ND)
7 IP, 117 PIT
8/17/04 at Kansas City (W)
7 IP, 119 PIT
8/23/04 Tampa Bay (L)
7 IP, 109 PIT
8/28/04 Kansas City (ND)
8 IP, 118 PIT
9/3/04 at Chicago White Sox (L)
6 IP, 101 PIT
9/9/04 Boston (W)
8 IP, 126 PIT
9/14/04 Anaheim (W)
8.1 IP, 122 PIT
9/19/04 Oakland (L)
7 IP, 119 PIT
9/24/04 at Texas (ND)
3.2 IP, 66 PIT
9/29/04 at Oakland (W)
9 IP, 133 PIT
In 11 starts, Madritsch went over 100 pitches 10 out of 11 starts.
He was 4-3 as a starter, 6-3 overall in 2004. Of course, the Mariners were already out of the A.L. West race by the time Bob Melvin put Madritsch into the rotation.
Am I going to blame Bob Melvin if Madritsch's left shoulder is seriously hurt? Yes. But the blame also has to go to Bryan Price as well. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that Madritsch isn't seriously hurt.
It goes without saying, but the Mariners can not afford to lose Bobby Madritsch. The pitching staff isn't solid as it is, so losing Mads wouldn't help matters one bit.
I think we should have a title for these open threads.
Yes, this is Jeremy starting the Mariner open thread today. From time to time, I'll do that. Today is just one of those days.
Do y'all have any suggestions as to what we should call our open threads at Sports and B's? The phrase "open thread" is too plain for my tastes. Besides, we don't do things normally here.
As always, the box is never off-topic.
POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO! POGO!
For the random...I was using my introductory geology text for a hard writing surface, and it's still off the shelf. I noticed it and thought of somewhat of a public service announcement. It goes something like this: if you're going to pound the crap out of a rock with a rockhammer, wear eye protection and have people back away a few feet. I think I saw someone get a sliver of rock into their arm, or somewhere it definitely shouldn't have been. There was a place in Oregon near the Newbery Volcanic Monument that had obsidian just everywhere, but if you're hammering that stuff with reckless abandon, well, don't come to me when you need a bandage. That stuff gets vile if you expose any edges.
Two days after winning the 100m breaststroke final at the USA Swimming World Championship Trials in Indianapolis, Bremerton's Tara Kirk came away with the victory in the 200m breaststroke. She posted a preliminary time of 2:29.22 (2nd) and a final time of 2:26.64, edging out Megan (Quann) Jendrick, who was 3rd and 4th in the races. Tara's two wins get her into two events at the 2005 worlds in Montreal. Hooray for former classmates!
To the post!
For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down two posts or click here if this is the only post on the page.
The bats yesterday showed up early and often, but nowhere after that. The often was also restricted to the early. The Twins hit so many singles in the 5th, you could swear that the inning was sponsored by Kraft Singles, made with real milk.
David Locke says Ichiro's hits do more damage this year in that he has hitters behind him to put him across the plate.
Pokey Reese's MRI showed a strained right shoulder. Also, as revealed by the papers and the broadcasts yesterday, you can't just plug in Jose Lopez because he's out 4 to 6 weeks with a broken hamate bone, or as I liked to call it, The Griffey Injury. Yeah, Griffey's had tons of injuries since I left Seattle, but I'll remember when he broke that hamate bone.
Did you know Dan Wilson is on the bench now? Okay, we all did. Early returns show that Miguel Olivo is hitting just as well in the lineup as Dan did. That doesn't say much. There haven't been any balls in the dirt skipping to the backstop yet, so at least that's been squared away for the span of two games.
By now you've probably heard about the 39 positive minor-league spring training steroid tests, and that eight of those came from the Mariners' system. Frankly, I'm anticipating a glut of positive tests for the Grapefruit League's minor-league testing numbers, if and when those come out to the public. The evil side of me wants a majority of those tests to be Yankees.
Today vs. Minnesota (3:35p, radio)
Friday vs. Texas (7:05p, UPN11)
Saturday vs. Texas (1:05p, FSNNW)
Sunday vs. Texas (1:05p, FSNNW)
Monday at Kansas City (1:10p, radio)
The Seahawks have zero unrestricted free agents left, as Brandon Mitchell is now an Atlanta Falcon. Five of the Seahawks' 16 unrestricted free agents this offseason signed with other teams. Who are the five? Off the top of my head, I can name Chike Okeafor, Ken Lucas, Heath Evans, and Brandon Mitchell. I have to cheat for the final one...Orlando Huff. Too many sports going on at once! Mind exploding!
Well, it looks like the Seahawks will at least get a visit from Jamie Sharper tomorrow. All accounts I've heard say that the Seahawks' chances aren't that great, but hey, the fans can dream. The article says Sharper's unfamiliarity with the coaching staff is one thing working against the Seahawks...but the other interested teams are Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville. I know they're teams on the way up, but...Cincinnati and Cleveland. Come on.
The Miah Davis Update
The NBDL's Roanoke Dazzle close out the regular season this weekend, with road games Friday at Huntsville and Saturday at Columbus.
The Marvin Williams Watch
Great job, Marvin.
For my thoughts on the game, scroll down a post or click here if this post is the only one on the page.
Blazing shooting or poor defense? More of the former, I'd have to say. The Kings shot 58.8%, and usually I would associate such a high field goal percentage with the Sonics getting blown past for easy layups and dunks, and the Sonics should have been demolished in the paint. The Sonics actually won the paint battle for once, and the one time they do it, they lose. In a related story, the Sonics squandered another double-double, this time from Reggie Evans, who had 11 and 12.
The Sonics have a day off, not just from games, but from practice as well. They'll have a tiny frame of time to rest their aches and strains and assorted injuries, and boy, are there a lot of them. Chalk up another one, this time with Antonio Daniels, who played only 10 minutes after feeling a pop in his left knee before the game. If it gets real bad, the Sonics might have to sign Miah Davis to a 10-day contract or something. This of course depends on whether Mateen Cleaves is on the injured list or on the "injured list."
Friday vs. Lakers (7:30p, FSNNW)
Saturday at Denver (6p, FSNNW)
Monday vs. Houston (7p, FSNNW)
(content posted ~7:33a)
Everett beat Portland 3-2. What an Everett-type game. The Winter Hawks dominated most of the game territorially and badly outshot the Silvertips, but Everett had the hot goalie and a capitalized on a couple of Portland mistakes. Quite simply, I've been looking at Everett boxscores all season and they just reek of the Minnesota Wild. Mark Kress scored first on a one-timer in front of the net with 6:05 remaining in the first period. Everett was nailed for too many men not long into the second period, and Garrett Festerling tied the game at 1-1 on a give-and-go. A loose puck on a pass that never found its target out of the Portland zone was picked up by Kyle Annesley, whose shot was stopped and rebound was put in by Alex Leavitt to make it 2-1 about halfway through the second period. A blocked slapshot led to a Leavitt breakaway halfway through the third period which stood up to be the winner. Portland pulled the goalie and got a Braydon Coburn goal, but time ran out on them before they could tie it. Portland fans and Vancouver fans both saw their teams get eliminated on home ice in the WHL's opening round of playoffs. Shots were 38-21 for Portland. Blake Grenier stopped 18 for Portland, and Mike Wall stopped 36 for Everett. Everett took the series 4-3, and they advance to the Western Conference semifinals. Seattle and Everett have brutal draws, and I can't say I expect them to get past the next round.
Manitoba beat Syracuse 3-1. Manitoba clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs with this win. The Moose got a hat trick from Lee Goren to account for the scoring. Goren started early, just 21 seconds into the game with a wrister. He scored later in the first period on the power play as well. Syracuse made it 2-1 in the second period and spent a long time trying to tie the game. Goren still had his third goal to get, and it was an empty-netter from center ice in the final minute. Ryan Kesler assisted on two of the goals. Shots were 32-25 for Manitoba, and Alex Auld (many timely saves in this one) stopped 24.
Tonight: Syracuse at Manitoba
Friday: Seattle at Kelowna (Game 1), Everett at Kootenay (Game 1)
Saturday: Seattle at Kelowna (Game 2), Everett at Kootenay (Game 2), Hamilton at Manitoba
Sunday: Hamilton at Manitoba
Monday: Kootenay at Everett (Game 3)
Tuesday: Kelowna at Seattle (Game 3), Kootenay at Everett (Game 4)
Have a gargantuan Wednesday.
You know, this is tough. If you just looked at the score alone, and see that the Sonics lost by 21 points, you would immediately think, "man, they need Rashard Lewis back immediately." They do, but just getting Rashard Lewis back isn't the difference between giving up around 97 points as opposed to 122.
The Sonics didn't lose this one in the first quarter. It ended with the Kings up 27-24, and the Sonics never trailed by more than five. Damien Wilkins scored 8 points in the quarter, including the final four Sonic points. Luke Ridnour chipped in with 4 as well. Meanwhile, Mike Bibby had 11 in the quarter for the Kings.
Both teams would put the scoring speed into hyperdrive for the second quarter. The only problem was that the Sonics came in trailing by three and came out trailing by eight to once again trail at half. It's been a disturbing trend the Sonics have taken up lately, this whole "down at half" thing. The Kings used a 21-8 run to turn a lead of three into a lead of 16. That, my friends, is a HUGE hole, even against a Sacramento team without Brad Miller. An 11-4 Sonic run cut the lead to 9 at 52-43, and eventually the Sonics were able to get it to within 6 before Kenny Thomas hit two free throws before halftime to make it 65-57. Ray Allen had 12 points in the quarter, and Darius Songaila of the Kings had 9 points in the quarter.
Seattle hit two straight baskets after halftime to close the gap to four points. Maybe they had some new spark after halftime? Kenny Thomas answered with a dunk. Ray Allen drained a jumper on the other end, but it was answered by a Peja Stojakovic three, the first of six three-pointers the Kings nailed in the third quarter. In one sequence, Ray Allen and Jerome James sank jumpers, and Sacramento answered both of those shots with three-pointers. The weird thing was, there were no really crazy runs by the Kings, they were just nailing their shots a bit more often that the Sonics were, and they hit their threes too.
Then Sacramento opened the fourth quarter with three straight baskets, and Coach McMillan called time out. Right about here, my lineup would have been Robert Swift, Damien Wilkins, Vitaly Potapenko, Nick Collison, and Jerome James. Screw it. The way Sacramento was shooting, there was no way in hell the Sonics were going to make up a 21-point deficit in a little over 10 minutes. The Kings' lead eventually reached 26 when Kenny Thomas dunked with 2:24 to go to make it 121-95.
Ouch. Just ouch.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 23 pts/6 reb/4 ast (8-18 FG, 2-5 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 41 minutes), Damien Wilkins 20 pts/5 reb (9-17 FG, 2-6 3pt, 40 min), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/4 reb/7 ast (5-12 FG, 0-2 3pt, 4-4 free throws, 38 min), Reggie Evans 11 pts/12 reb/2 stl (4-8 FG, 3-6 free throws, 28 min)
Danny Fortson 8 pts/3 reb (2-4 FG, 4-4 free throws, 15 min), Nick Collison 4 pts/4 reb (2-2 FG, 14 min), Ron Murray 3 pts/3 stl (1-9 FG, 0-2 3pt, 1-2 free throws, 23 min), Antonio Daniels 2 pts (1-2 FG, 10 min), Vitaly Potapenko 2 pts (1-1 FG, 4 min), Robert Swift 1 pt (1-2 free throws, 4 min)
Jerome James Watch
13 pts/2 reb/1 blk (6-9 FG, 1-2 free throws, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 23 min)
shot 39-for-82 (47.6%) from the field, shot 4-for-16 (25%) from downtown, shot 19-for-26 (73.1%) from the line, beat Sacramento 52-46 in the paint, were beaten 14-9 on the break, outrebounded Sacramento 37-35 (16 offensive), turned the ball over 12 times, bench was outscored 33-20 (and outrebounded 10-8)
Daniels' minutes are low because he (quoted in the Times story) felt a "pop" in his left knee before the game. He will get an MRI.
One could see how much points the Sonics gave up in this game quarter to quarter (27 38 32 35) and assume they just didn't play defense. While sometimes that is the case with the Sonics, what I didn't put in this post yet was that the Kings shot 47-for-80 (58.8%) from the field and drained 11 of 19 (57.9%) three-point attempts. That is abso-freakin'-lutely nuts. Sometimes you can give teams a ton of wide-open shots and they won't them at anywhere near a clip that the Kings were hitting in this game. You can look through the game logs too, this wasn't a 58.8% with a bunch of layups and dunks, this was a rainstorm of jumpshots. The Kings' accuracy was just blistering.
As for the individual players themselves, Damien Wilkins bounced back from his off game at Golden State, but Nick Collison had another off game. Danny Fortson topped bench scoring but didn't grab too many boards (got to the line a couple times though). Luke Ridnour dished out 7 assists, so that's good, and the 14 points were too. Solid game from Luke. Jerome James and Reggie Evans combined for 24 points, which isn't something I expect too often. Oddly, I'll bring it up again, but it seems that the Sonics lose every time they have somebody get a double-double. Evans had 11 and 12 tonight. And oh yeah, Ron Murray was terrible from the field, but the 3 steals at least brought some value.
Man, does this team need Rashard Lewis back and playing.
I would have asked Jinkies if he thinks there's a conspiracy involving the identical colors for both the Los Angeles and Sacramento Kings.
In 25 words or less: The Mariners took an early lead. Johan Santana settled down and waited for the wheels to fall off of Gil Meche and Matt Thornton.
Gil Meche gave up a two-out walk to Joe Mauer as his only baserunner in the inning. Raul Ibanez couldn't quite get to Mauer's foul ball earlier in the at-bat. Runner aside, Meche caught Jason Bartlett looking on a breaking ball and blew a high fastball past Justin Morneau, the latter to end the inning. Moyer threw 21 pitches in the first.
Ichiro beat out a dinker that Johan Santana charged, but couldn't throw to first in time. Jeremy Reed walked. Adrian Beltre fouled off the first pitch, and he had a nice rip at it. Then he bashed the 1-2 pitch and rolled it to the wall in center to score Ichiro and Reed.
»» MARINERS 2, TWINS 0
Then Richie Sexson hacked at the first pitch he saw and doubled just to the left of the Starbucks sign in the corner in left, scoring Beltre.
»» MARINERS 3, TWINS 0
Boone killed the euphoria a bit and hit a weak dribbler to the right side to advance Sexson, who scored from third on a chipshot into right by Raul Ibanez on a full-count curve.
»» MARINERS 4, TWINS 0
Ibanez was as good as picked off (though Santana had stepped toward home), but Morneau one-hopped Bartlett with the throw and Ibanez was safe (ruled as a steal). It didn't matter though, because Mike Cuddyer made a nice stab on Winn's grounder to nail him, and Miguel Olivo was next. He whiffed on a change.
Johan Santana needed 33 pitches to get through that inning. Though he did give up the four runs, it could have been more. The Mariners did have Ibanez on second with one out. Granted, that doesn't seem like much of a threat when Winn and Olivo are the next two hitters, but Santana still has to get the hitters out.
Meche walked Torii Hunter to lead off, but got Jacque Jones to hit a ball right back to him, turning it into a double play. A lazy popup to Ichiro made it a 1-2-3 inning. Meche turned in a short 11-pitch inning.
Santana was about to settle into a groove. Getting a groundout from Wilson Valdez is expected, so no eyebrows raised there. Santana then got Ichiro to bounce out on the second pitch, and got a nice play toward the line from Morneau on Reed to end the inning. Santana needed 33 pitches in the first, but only 10 in the second.
Meche froze Mike Cuddyer with an offspeed pitch on 2-2 for the first out. With two outs, Shannon Stewart knocked one between Bret Boone and the second base bag for a single. Then Bartlett hit one off of Meche's glove, and the ball was close to Boone, but he couldn't get to it. Luckily Meche was able to mow down Mauer with some belt-high gas to end the inning. The turbulence resulted in a 25-pitch inning for Meche.
The leadoff hitter reached base, and that was Beltre with a single he smacked over the shortstop. Santana then struck out the next three hitters -- Sexson on a change low and away, Boone on a change as well, and Ibanez with high cheese. Ibanez had a 2-0 count in his at-bat. Of course, strikeouts require pitches, and Santana needed 22 to get through the third.
Morneau grounded out to Boone, Hunter flew out to Ichiro, and Jones hit a slow roller to Sexson. It was Meche's easiest inning, and he needed only nine pitches. Too bad it would also be his last full inning.
Winn, Olivo, and Valdez went away 1-2-3 against Santana. Call me impatient, but the struggles of the bottom third of the lineup are getting old already. Two groundouts to the first two, and Valdez was blown down with a fastball. Santana needed 10 pitches, and was at 75 through four innings.
The thing that started this whole mess was a high 2-2 pitch that Lew Ford fought off into centerfield for a single. Cuddyer hit a ball that went off the tip of Beltre's glove into left. Meche didn't help himself by falling behind 2-0 on Rivas, who poked a ball into center to load the bases with nobody out. Meche got Stewart to bounce to Valdez, and they got the out at second, but not at first (Stewart's too quick). Ford scored, and the shutout hopes went away.
»» MARINERS 4, TWINS 1
Bartlett laced his second pitch up the middle and past a diving Valdez into centerfield. That scored Cuddyer.
»» MARINERS 4, TWINS 2.
Meche lost the shutout not long before, and now the hopes for a win went away too; Mike Hargrove pulled him in favor of Matt "Crown of" Thornton. Meche didn't go the required five innings.
What does Thornton do? Give yourself a gold star if you said, "fall behind immediately to the first hitter he sees." That was Joe Mauer, and he fell behind 2-0 and 3-1. Ron Gardenhire sent the runners on 3-1, and Valdez went toward second to cover the steal attempt. Mauer roped one where Valdez would have normally been. That scored Shannon Stewart.
»» MARINERS 4, TWINS 3
The next hitter proved that the bounces wouldn't go the Mariners' way tonight. Justin Morneau had gone to two strikes, and then hit a checkswing parachute-job into left. Ibanez dove for it, but trapped it (not a close trap, it was a pretty blatant trap). Bartlett scored on the play to tie it.
»» TWINS 4, MARINERS 4
FINALLY, the book was closed on Gil Meche. His line was 4 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts on 82 pitches (49 strikes, 16 pitches in the 5th). He didn't give up any runs in the first four innings (needless to say), and though he didn't face too many hitters in those innings, he was throwing a lot of pitches. I know that's somewhat of an expectation for a power/strikeout pitcher, but I think it was to a fault tonight, since there seemed to be (intuition, I can't prove this) a lot of two-strike foul balls when he was trying to challenge the hitters for strikeouts.
Then Thornton gave up another two-strike hit, a poke into center from Torii Hunter to score Mauer. In minimal consolation, Jeremy Reed gunned down Morneau trying to take third. The Twins, once down 4-0 in this game, had taken the lead, and there wasn't any looking back.
»» TWINS 5, MARINERS 4
Jones got a belt-high meatball and clubbed it out to right field. I remember seeing him hit that exact same ball multiple times against the Mariners in the past. It's not emblazoned in my mind like David Justice against Arthur Rhodes in Game 6 of the 2000 ALCS, but it's still there. Anyway, Hunter scored along with Jones (obviously) on the dinger.
»» TWINS 7, MARINERS 4
With that, Thornton was pulled, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa took over. Thornton's sparkling line: 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 15 pitches. Weird to think I want to rail on Matt Thornton on a night when he didn't walk anybody. Amazing. Still, to let your two inherited runners score and then let three of your own score while only getting one out...ugh. I know there might have been a bad bounce or two, but he didn't have to fall behind to Mauer either.
Anyway and mercifully, Hasegawa got Ford to ground out and end the inning.
Let's face it. The game was over at this point. Sure, the Mariners would only face Santana for one more inning, but the offense had already gotten cold, and the Minnesota bullpen doesn't exactly suck.
The 1-2-3 hitters went 1-2-3. Ichiro bounced out to first, Reed whiffed an a breaking ball away, and Beltre got a 2-0 pitch that it looked like he socked, but it was just a low liner to right. Sigh...
First inning aside, that was an okay start from Johan Santana, especially for the first start of the season. He had a line of 5 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts on 93 pitches (59 strikes). I might be going a little far with the pitch counts, but he threw 60 pitches in the four scoreless innings. Like Jamie Moyer the night before, Santana wasn't quite at the top of his game, but he did have flashes of brilliance, and was good enough to win.
Hasegawa gave up a one-out single after falling behind 3-0 on Rivas, the #9 hitter, Rivas was wiped away on a fielder's choice, and Valdez caught a Bartlett fly close to the leftfield line. Hasegawa struck out Cuddyer to start the inning.
Jesse Crain came in for Santana.
Richie Sexson swung at the first pitch and got way under it, skying a ball that eventually landed in Bartlett's glove in short left. Boone had a 2-0 count and was nailed in the right forearm on a full-count pitch.
Crain was pulled and JC Romero took over. Crain's line was pretty simple. He threw 1/3 of an inning, and the rest of his line was zeroes, except for beaning Boone, and seven pitches with three strikes.
Then Ibanez waved at a 1-2 pitch and Winn harmlessly grounded out to Romero.
Hasegawa got Mauer to whiff, then Morneau hit a one-out single to right and moved to second on a Hunter ground ball. Then Jones did damage again, singling to center to cap the scoring.
»» TWINS 8, MARINERS 4
Then Ford bounced to Beltre for a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Hasegawa didn't come out for the 8th. He at least put out the fire in this one, finishing with a line of 2 1/3 innings, 1 run (earned), 3 hits, 0 walks, and 2 strikeouts on 35 pitches (21 strikes). I guess it's good to know that at least for once, Hasegawa didn't implode like last year.
Romero had little to no trouble with a 8-9-1 hitters in the Seattle lineup. Hunter didn't have to move on the fly that Olivo hit to him. Romero made a nice play off the mound to nail Valdez, who tried to bunt his way aboard. Ichiro beat out a grounder, and Cuddyer threw the ball past Morneau at first and into foul ground. Ichiro was on second with two out, but Jeremy Reed bounced out to second.
JC Romero is good; this we know. He looked like he was in midseason form in this game. There didn't appear to be any Opening Day kinks for Romero to work out. Romero's line: 1 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, and 1 strikeout on 21 pitches (14 strikes). I'd love to have Romero in my bullpen as opposed to, say, Ron Villone.
I guess I feel like being nice to Ryan Franklin for once. He's probably really ticked off that he's not starting, but a 1-2-3 inning against the 8-9-1 hitters in the Twins' lineup is a good start. Actually, it's a relief. Appearance. Hell, you know what I'm trying to say. Mike Cuddyer took Ichiro to the warning track before Rivas and Stewart both grounded (yes, grounded) out.
Franklin's line is fairly obvious too. One inning, and the rest of the numbers are zeroes, except for five strikes out of six pitches.
I figured this was the last real hope for the Mariners. The meat of the order was up against Juan Rincon. Beltre had a 3-0 count to work with, but he ended up whiffing. Richie Sexson walked, but Boone bounced into a 3-6-3 double play. If there was any doubt it was over, well, it was definitely over now.
Rincon's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 14 pitches (7 strikes).
JJ Putz came in and allowed only a two-out rip of a single to Morneau. He whiffed Bartlett and Mauer to start the inning, and ended it with a Hunter broken-bat groundout to Beltre.
Putz's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, and 2 strikeouts on 12 pitches (9 strikes).
Just to rub it in, Ron Gardenhire put in Joe Nathan even though it was a non-save situation. Ibanez had a 2-0 count but ended up whiffing at some high gas. Winn swung at the first pitch and almost dropped a double, but Stewart made a nice catch running toward the gap in leftcenter. Greg Dobbs pinch-hit for Olivo and two-hopped the wall in the corner in rightfield for a double. Scott Spiezio pinch-hit for Valdez and worked a 1-2 count to a full count, which was a miracle in itself. Nathan dropped a slider over the outside corner to end it.
Nathan's line: 1 inning, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, and 2 strikeouts on 16 pitches (10 strikes)
Gameball: Ryan Franklin. He had the 1-2-3 8th, and though only one outing, I at least found it somewhat encouraging. I think he might turn into that useful long reliever that hates relieving. We used to have one of those in Seattle a couple years ago. Franklin should give John Halama a call.
I guess the semi-obvious pick(s) for the gameball would have been Ichiro or Beltre.
Goat: Matt Thornton. I'm going obvious here. You know what the sick thing is? He didn't walk anybody.
Well, that was quite the turnaround, wasn't it? I know Meche didn't set the table well at all in the 5th, but did anyone expect Matt Thornton to implode that badly? I'm not kidding you, when that ball jumped off Jacque Jones' bat into the rightfield seats, I was knocked back into 2004, that's how bad it was. I mean, a seven-run inning is so 2004, right?
On the other hand, what do you expect when you blow a lead and Johan Santana's pitching for the other team? Is a seven-run inning bad? Sure it is. But the Mariners didn't lose to some spot starter claimed three days ago off the waiver wire, and they didn't lose to some no-name Tampa Bay pitcher. They lost to Johan Santana and the big guns in the Minnesota bullpen. They threw four innings of shutout ball and gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out four.
I know I won't have to worry about it for the entire year, but I had the feeling two or three times tonight on grounders near Valdez that "oh, Pokey would have had that one." It's a whole new spin on the "Cameron would have had that" mantra of last year.
I've said I don't expect a division title or even a .500 season out of these Mariners, but I can tell already after two games that I'm going to like watching this season unfold a lot more than the last.
But until the next game...
ICHIRO'S BATTING .500!
RICHIE SEXSON IS ON PACE FOR 486 RBI!
MATT THORNTON'S ERA IS 81.00!
Silva. Madritsch. This afternoon.